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What notice has been taken of that recommendation?-As I said before, not being a Samuel d'ale, member of the Legislature, I cannot take upon me to state; it is considered that the proceedings that ought to have been adopted in those particulars were neglected.

Will you state what proceedings you think ought to have been adopted?—I consider that the law ought to have been altered, so as to adapt it to the situation of the townships. What law?-The law that now exists in the province regarding roads, namely, the Act of the 36th of Geo. the 3d.

Istat impression in the townships general among the English settlers, t'at if some principal lines of communication were made there would be great increased facility to the formation of settlements in those townships?-There cannot be any doubt of it.

Is it the impression that it is in order to prevent such settlements that difficulties are thrown in the way of forming such roads?-It is believed so by a great many.

You have stated other grievances which you were desirous to represent, bearing hard upon the British settlers in the townships; what are those grievances?—I might perhaps offer, as a more succinct mode of pointing them out, a petition that was drawn up and signed by upwards of 10,000 persons at the time that they prayed, in order to obtain relief from these difficulties, for the union. The petition that was drawn up by them contained what were considered generally amongst them as their grievances; it would be shorter, therefore, to read them from this petition than to state them in any other manner. What is the date of that petition?-It was transmitted from the townships in 1823. Do you conceive that that is a fair statement of what is generally complained of?—I do believe it to be a fair statement; it is entitled the petition from the inhabitants of British birth and descent in Durham, Stanbridge, and so on, enumerating a great number of them in Lower Canada.

[The witness delivered in a copy of the petition, which was read.]

With respect to what is there mentioned, I have only to state that I do not know any alteration in the condition of the townships, except only that there has been for a certain portion of their number a court established, which decides causes of a very limited amount; that however affects only a portion of the townships comprised in what is called the inferior district of St. Francis.

By whom has that court been established ?-It was established by the Legislature. I believe that His Excellency recommended the establishment of a court there, and the Legislature established it; it is under a temporary act, however, which expires next year. Under the Act of 1791, permission was given to any person who desired it, to have his property granted to him in free and common soccage out of the seigneuries?—Yes. Is it under that Act that the townships have arisen?-I consider that without that Act it would have been equally competent to the Government to have established the townships.

Is not all the land in the townships held in free and common soccage ?--It is; but I conceive that that was a tenure that was established from the very commencement of Canada becoming an English colony. In the year 1763, His Majesty's proclamation promised to all his subjects, both in England and in the Colonies, the benefit of the laws of England, if they would go to Canada.

At what time was land first granted in free and common soccage in Canada ?—I believe it was so granted in few years after the conquest.

Is all the land in the townships held in free and common soccage?-All.

Will you describe the position of the land?-The seigneuries constitute a narrow tract of land on both sides of the river St. Lawrence, of varying breadth from ten to forty miles. In the rear of those seigneuries, in the province of Lower Canada, the townships have been granted since 1791.

Have the goodness to state, supposing the course of the river to be east and west, how far to the eastward or towards the mouth of the river the seigneuries extend?-They extend in a connected line to the Mal Bay River on the north side, and to De Peiras or Metis on the other side of the river. There are some detached seigneuries even beyond these on each side of the river.

And westward they extend to Upper Canada?-They do.

S May, 1828.

Are

Samuel Gale,
Esquire.

3 May, 1828.

Are they continuous along the whole of that line?—They are continued from Metis on the one side, and from Mal Bay on the other side of the river St. Lawrence up a little above

Montreal.

Without any interval ?-Without any interval along the banks of the river.

To the west of Quebec, and in depth from the river to the American frontier, do the seigneuries extend the whole distauce?-They do not.

Is the land immediately upon the American frontier in seigneurie or in township ?-
Generally in township, not universally.

Is there a line of seigneuries extending along the bank of the river Richelieu ?—Yes,
Does that extend along the river Richelieu to the American frontier?-It does.

Does that cut off and separate the townships at the back of the seigneuries in the Lower Province from the Upper Province ?-Those seigneuries do intervene between the townships and the Upper Province.

And they form a continued line up to the American frontier ?-They do on the river Richelieu.

Will you direct your attention to that portion of territory which is on the west of the river Bichelieu, aud between the St. Lawrence and Upper Canada. Are there any townships in that district, or is it all occupied by seigneuries?—There are some townships. Can you state at all what the breadth of the tract of seigneurie is on both sides of the river Richelieu, near the boundary of the province that divides the great tract of townships, on the south of the St. Lawrence and east of the Richelieu, from the townships south of the St. Lawrence and west of the Richelieu ?—The breadth on both sides may be about six leagues. The portion of land that is west immediately of the river Richelieu is called the county of Huntingdon, is it not?-There are three counties between the Richelieu and the St. Lawrence, Huntingdon, Kent and Surrey.

Do the townships in the county of Huntingdon join immediately upon the townships in Upper Canada, or do the seigneuries intervene there?-They would join immediately, but that the river St. Lawrence separates them.

But there is no seigneurie between?- None.

Is the whole southern bank of the river St. Lawrence, between the mouth of the river Richelieu and the point where Lower Canada meets the United States, in seigneuries?— It is not, the whole of it; there is the exception of the township of Godmanchester, on the Lake St. Francis.

The seigneuries then reach to the township of Godmanchester?—They do.

Can you state the probable number of inhabitants that at present occupy that district of township which is situated to the east of the river Richelieu? They estimate themșelves at 40,000.

Is the district of country that is occupied by townships all allotted, or is there any part of it still in the hands of Government ?-I believe there are ungranted lands on that side of considerable extent.

Does the space of the townships greatly exceed the space of ground occupied as seigneuries ?-Yes.

Is the soil of the townships very inferior in quality to that of the seigneuries?—I have seen many parts of it in which it was as good as any soil could possibly be. In general the face of the country is much more diversified: the seigneuries generally are a flat country; the townships have hills and lakes much more frequently than the seigneuries. Is there any thing like a capital town in this district of townships?-There is not.

Is there any considerable village in it ?-There are several villages; I do not know that any of them would deserve the name of considerable; there is one however that is, I believe, as large as other villages in Canąda ; that is Stanstead.

Is there any considerable market town?-No.

Are there any seigneuries lying detached among the townships ?-None.

Will you describe the state of the eastern boundary of the townships; how far do they extend to the east with reference to the River St. John ?-They extend to the State of Maine; and where that commences is a controverted point.

What is the district of Gaspé, is that in township or seigneurie?-There are several townships, and some seigneuries there

W! en

When the Lower Province was divided into counties, upon what principle was the di- Samuel Gale, vision made?—It is natural to suppose that the division was made with a view to the then Esquire. population.

Is the result of that division, that some of the counties consisting exclusively of seigneu- 8 May, 1828. ries, are of very small dimensions, and that other counties consisting principally of townships are of very great extent?—Yes.

Name some of the counties of small extent consisting of seigneuries ?-There are the county of Surrey and the county of Kent; the county of Buckingham, I suppose, is equal in extent to a dozen of both those counties.

Does the county of Buckingham return two members ?-It returns only two members. There are some seigneuries in the county of Buckingham, but its principal extent consists of township lands. There is the county of Northumberland, which extends from the St. Lawrence to the Hudson's Bay territories, and is equal in extent to a kingdom.

Is not that an extent of wilderness ?-It is at present chiefly so.

Not laid out in townships?-No.

Does the county of Kent, or the county of Surrey, though small in point of extent, possess a larger population at this moment than the county of Buckingham?—I take it that the county of Buckingham possesses a far larger population than either of those.

There was a census of the population taken in 1825. In what manner was it taken ; in counties or districts ?-It was the population of the counties, I believe.

Have you that document by you ?—I have not.

Have you it in England?-I think I can get it.

If in the towns! ips any individual has a suit at law, or any business at the county town, what facility has he of communicating it: are there direct roads to the county town?— We have no county courts there; the courts are all district courts.

Where are the district courts held ?-At Montreal and Three Rivers, and Quebec.

Is there no court at all held in the counties?-We have no courts held in the counties; we had the country divided into counties for the purpose of sending representatives; it is the old division that was made in 1791.

Where is the place of election in each county ?—It is a place appointed by the Legislature; I do not recollect the names of each.

Each county has a place of election within itself?—It has a place or places.
And they are all within the seigneuries ?-They are, except perhaps at Gaspé.

Have any petitions been presented from the inhabitants of the townships to the Legisla ture to introduce in the townships British courts and British jurisdiction?—I believe there have many for the establis! ment of courts.

What reception have they met with ?—I understand that they have been treated with neglect; that they have never been attended to at all except as to the temporary act for St. Francis.

Does it consist with your knowledge that applications have been made for the registration of freeholders and deeds ?-Residing always at Montreal, and the Legislature being held at Quebec, it is difficult to say that it consists with my personal knowledge ; but Ï understand and believe that that is the case, that applications have been made repeatedly to the Colonial Legislature for register offices.

Is there much inconvenience experienced from the want of registers in the townships? Very great indeed; it is considered as essential to the security of property, where a long chain of titles cannot be given (as is the case in a new country), that a person shall be able to ascertain whether he who was formerly proprietor of the land has disposed of it anteriorly or not, and whether he can give a good title.

Are there any civil courts in the townships other than those which are in the seigneuries formed under the French system ?-None, except in the inferior district of St. Francis, which is a district comprising a certain number of townships, and established recently, since the signing of the petition that I produced.

Supposing an inhabitant of a township to sue another inhabitant upon a question of civil property, must he bring his action in the French courts ?-He must bring his action in the French courts of law.

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Samuel Gale,
Esquire.

And sue and be sued in the French language?—The English language is generally made use of by the advocates or lawyers who are English; there is no law to prevent their setting forth their claim in English, and that I consider the legal language of the writs ; 8 May, 1828. but the law that is to determine the claim is French, generally speaking.

How does the French law apply to the land held in free and common soccage ?—At present it does not apply to the land held in free and common soccage at all, that land is exempt from the operation of the French law.

Then by what law is it administered?-It could only be administered in conformity to the Imperial statutes under the English law.

By what courts?-It must be administered by the courts that now exist, or not be administered at all; it must be administered by the courts of Montreal, Quebec, and Three Rivers.

Are not the judges mostly English ?-They are; there are however three Canadian judges.

Are the chief justices both or either of them Englishmen ?-I believe that the chief justices of the province is from Massachussetts, and I believe the chief justice of Montreal is a Scotchman.

What law does he administer ?-French, when that law has not been altered by British or Provincial enactment.

What is the law that applies to dower, to wills, and to all the transactions and relations that grow out of the transfer of property and its descent?-The French law exists in Lower Canada, except where the English law has been introduced in its stead; the English criminal law exists in Lower Canada and the French civil law; there have been some modifications of the French civil law under provincial statutes and ordinances.

In all questions relating to land held in free and common soccage, must not those questions be decided in the English courts where the English law is administered ?-We have none as contradistinguished from the courts where the the French law is administered.

According to the nature of the suit is not the decision given according either to the French or to the English law?-Precisely; they are the same courts of King's Bench and the same judges. In the criminal courts the decision is given according to the English law; in the civil courts it is given according to the French law, except in so far as particular statutes have introduced the English law or altered the French law.

Are they the same individual judges that administer the French law with respect to those lands held according to the custom of Paris, and those lands held in free and common soccage?-Precisely the same.

Are those gentlemen all English lawyers?-No.

Are they French lawyers?-Those judges are French lawyers. There are some French Canadians, but the majority of them are Englishmen ; the law they chiefly administer, however, is the French law, that being the law of the country

Is not the French law, the law of the country, applicable to all the lands and to all the occupiers of those lands in the English townships, although the system of seigneuries does not prevail as to the tenure of the lands; and what are marriage rights? The British statute, called the Tenures Act, must have put that question at rest; and it is expressly declared in that statute, that the French law cannot apply to lands granted in free and common soccage. Marriage establishes, unless there be some stipulation to the contrary by previous marriage contract, two rights, amongst others, one of which is called dower, and the other communauté. The dower differs in some measure from the English law of dower, as well as far as regards the quantum of land, as also as far as regards the further disposition of the property; it consists of half the real property belonging to the husband, either of his own acquisition or otherwise, at the time he married, and also of half the real property that may come to him by inheritance during the time of the marriage. The dower belongs inalienably to the children of the marriage; the widow is only entitled to the fruits and the revenues of it during her life; and if there be no marriage contracts all property is subject either to dower or communauté.

Do you mean all property, both of Canadians and of settlers, in the townships ?—No, I do not mean that all the settlers in the townships are liable to both those rights; but a portion

portion of their property is liable to one of those rights, the right of communauté ; at least Samuel Gale, it is so held by some; and these are points which it would be very desirable to have settled. Esquire. Does your observation extend to both real and personal property?—A dower is of real property only; a communauté consists of personal as well as real property.

Does it apply equally, as the case may be, under the like circumstances, to the English settler in the township, as it does to the Canadian in the seigneurie?—I think that the Canada Tenure Act has confirmed the exclusion of the French dower from the townships, inasmuch as the dower consists of real property; but with regard to the communauté, it is held by some that that exists in the townships, except where real property is concerned. The communauté is composed partly of personal and partly of real property; it is composed of all the personal property and the real property that is not liable to dower. The wife is entitled to one half the communauté, that is, one half of the entire personal property of the husband, and one half of the real property which he has acquired during his marriage. Does this go to the heirs of the wife-If the wife dies before the husband, the children I will be entitled to her share of the communauté; that is, to one half of it instantly upon her death, even although the husband acquired the whole of this communauté; and the consequence is, very frequently, lawsuits between parents and children; I have known very often children bringing suits against their parents.

Suppose the children die before te wife, upon the death of the wife does the property -go to the heirs of the children or of the wife?If there were grand-children living it would go to them; but supposing the wife to die without having bad children, it would go to her heirs, although they were strangers to the husband; so that, supposing the wife dies, if there has been no previous marriage contract, her relations can claim from the husband one half of the fruits of his labour, although the wife might never have brought him any thing.

Would a previous marriage contract pleaded in the French courts bar the right of communauté ?-Undoubtedly the right of communauté would be destroyed if there were a previous marriage contract setting it aside; but in order to make a previous marriage contract, it is necessary to have some idea of the law, and most Englishmen who come to that country know very little about that.

Even in the case where a marriage contract did not subsist, could the husband have power to alter that disposition by will, or does the power only apply to cases where the party has died intestate, and there has been no marriage contract ?—I do not conceive that the husband would have a right to dispose of the communauté by will; he can spend it, or he can dispose of it while he lives, but not by will, as I conceive."

You have stated that it is undecided in the country whether this communauté does apply always to English settlers in the Townships; has the question ever been brought be fore the courts?-I have no knowledge myself of its having been brought forward contradictorily. I do not know that any instance exists of its having been decided where the opposition was made upon the ground that the law did not apply. The courts, of course, if the objection be not taken, would make it apply; but I do not know that it has been objected to, and decided formally upon objection.

What is the appeal from the courts of Canada upon the French law?-The appeal is first to the Court of Appeals at Quebec, and next to the King in Council here.

Have there been appeals to the King in Council upon the construction of the French law in the seigneuries ?-In some cases.

8 May, 1828.

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